Strong tournament for Sadogatake beya’s front men

NAGOYA (Compiled from Kyodo) Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu had briefly given himself hope of forcing a playoff after easily barging out ozeki Harumafuji (9-6) in his final bout, but had to be content with a runnerup finish and a 13-2 record.  Hakuho beat fellow Mongolian yokozuna Asashoryu in an epic finale to clinch his 11th Emperor’s Cup win on the last day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament on Sunday.

Hakuho was made to work all the way by Asashoryu (10-5) in an enthralling encounter at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium, but the Miyagino stable star prevailed with a stylish underarm throw at the ring’s edge to capture the title with a 14-1 record.

In other bouts in the top ranks, Kotomitsuki (12-3) gave home fans plenty to cheer about as he broke out of a stalemate and sent out ozeki rival Kaio (8-7) from behind.

Kotoshogiku, as komusubi, scored 8-7. His win over Harumafuji in the third day of the tournament was the first fatal blow in the ozeki’s bid for promotion.

Hakuho’s only defeat at Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium came from the local favorite Kotomitsuki in the 11th day.

Kotooshu ensured the title race went down to the final day with a hard-earned forceout win over yokozuna Asashoryu on Saturday.

In contention: Kotooshu beats Asashoryu Saturday to stay one win behind Hakuho at the Nagoya Basho.  KYODO PHOTO

In contention: Kotooshu beats Asashoryu Saturday to stay one win behind Hakuho at the Nagoya Basho. KYODO PHOTO